AUG 07 (BALTIMORE) - U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Richard Anthony Wilford, age 41, of Baltimore and Elkton, to 340 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Judge Hollander enhanced Wilford’s sentence upon determining that he is a career offender based on two prior federal drug trafficking convictions.
The sentence was announced by Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration – Baltimore District Office; United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore City Police Department; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.
"The Drug Enforcement Administration working in partnership with our law enforcement partners dismantled a drug trafficking organization that distributed very large amounts of cocaine throughout the Maryland metropolitan area,” stated Gary Tuggle, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration – Baltimore District Office. “Wilford ran from law enforcement, but was apprehended. Wilford will not be walking the streets of Maryland for a very long time,” added Tuggle.
According to evidence presented at the five day trial, from 2010 to September 2011, Wilford was a member of a cocaine-trafficking organization in and around Baltimore, Maryland. Wilford and his co-conspirators, including Lawrence Hayes, conspired to obtain large quantities of cocaine from sources of supply in California and ship the cocaine to Maryland. Once in Maryland, Wilford sold the cocaine to his co-conspirators who processed and packaged the cocaine for distribution in the Baltimore metropolitan area.
During the week of May 16, 2011, Hayes and others were arrested. Wilford’s residence was searched and a hollowed-out computer shell, a large cardboard box, and a mold for forming a kilogram of narcotics were seized. A shipment of cocaine destined to Wilford’s address was also intercepted and seized on May 20, 2011. Approximately eight kilograms of cocaine were concealed inside of a hollow computer shell. Moreover, UPS shipping records revealed that in 2010 to 2011, 18 shipments of cocaine were made to Wilford’s residence, including the shipment intercepted by DEA agents on May 20, 2011. Testimony at trial revealed that between November 2010 and May 2011, approximately nine hollowed-out computer shells and their respective shipping boxes were removed from Wilford’s residence by a co-conspirator.
In addition, approximately $1.6 million dollars was seized from a residence in Reisterstown, Maryland. Testimony at trial indicated that Wilford had a key to and stored the cash in the residence.
Wilford’s residence in Elkton, Maryland was searched and agents seized a small amount of currency, receipts for six UPS shipments to California, and materials for wrapping and shipping currency. Testimony at trial indicated that this residence was sometimes used as a location to prepare large sums of U.S. currency for shipment to California. UPS shipping records indicated that Wilford shipped no less than 28 packages to California from Maryland, using fake names.
In May, 2011, Wilford fled to Los Angeles, California. In August 2011, a federal law enforcement agent attempted to arrest Wilford, but Wilford was able to escape when he attempted to run-down the agent with the vehicle that Wilford was operating. The investigation revealed that Wilford had rented an apartment in Los Angeles under a fake name. A search of Wilford’s Los Angeles apartment and vehicle revealed approximately $68,000 and fake IDs.
Wilford was arrested on September 16, 2011, at a secret apartment located on Laurel
Avenue in Baltimore City. Approximately $189,000, 14 cell phones and a fake ID were seized from either the apartment or his vehicle.
Trial evidence was presented that Wilford was responsible for the distribution of at least 200 kilograms of cocaine in furtherance of the conspiracy, and the entire conspiracy invovled no less than 336 kilograms of cocaine.
Co-defendants Lawrence Lee Hayes and Bryan Eammon Williams, both age 41, and both of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the conspiracy and were sentenced to 15 years in prison, and 135 months in prison, respectively.